One year ago today, Congress smartly allowed the ban on off-shore drilling to expire. After months of urging Congress to take every action at its disposal to increase the supply of American-made energy, I was thrilled to celebrate Energy Independence Day 2008.
However, one year later, we have made no progress. First, the Obama Administration put an abrupt halt to plans already in place to open up the outer continental shelf and public lands in Utah to energy exploration. And, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has announced it could be 2012 before the administration even decides whether it will consider moving forward.
Washington is not only not making progress; it is, in fact, sending us further from achieving energy independence than even before.
Instead of increasing the supply of American made energy, Congress is pushing a national energy tax, Cap and Trade, that would increase the cost of energy and kill jobs. In fact, a study by the George C. Marshall Institute, which reviewed a wide range of studies and analyses of the cap and trade legislation, found that the price of energy paid by the American consumer would jump: 5-15% for electricity, 12-50% for natural gas, and 9-145% for gasoline. The White House's own numbers show that cap and trade would cost the average American family an additional $1761.
The American people shouldn't have to wait for another summer of $4-gas for the Administration and the majority in Congress to do the right thing. Energy independence is a matter of fiscal prudence and national security. And, an all-of-the-above energy strategy -- which includes exploration of off-shore oil and natural gas and shale oil deposits in the Mountain West -- is the way to achieve real energy independence.